Posted by Larry Gleeson

Delroy Lindo received the illustrious American Riviera Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, April 8, 2021, and was recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, most recently, for his work in Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS from Netflix.

Lindo virtually sat down with Indiewire Editor-at-Large Anne Thompson for an in-depth discussion about his career in film, television, and in the theater.

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

  • On working with Chadwick Boseman without the knowledge of his illness & a special request for Denzel Washington: “We did not [know what he was going through]. In retrospect, it adds another layer of I don’t know what. To the extent that it was an extraordinary experience, it adds another component to the specialness of the experience of making this work…I thought it [his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom] was terrific. I remember seeing that play and I am all for having his [August Wilson] work committed to film. I thought they did a wonderful job…I will say to you Denzel, I want to play Bynum Walker in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. So, I have no clue if that will ever get to Denzel’s ear…But I’m putting it out there into the ether.”


  • On deciding what roles to take: “The question always is ‘who is this human being? Where is this person’s humanity? And can I inform humanity of who this person is? If the answer is yes, I feel I can contribute then I’m more apt to take the work on. If the answer is no and if for whatever reason the writing is stereotypical or cliche or I do not feel like I can contribute something then I’m apt to say no, to pass.”


  • On acting for television: “Television has been really important to me…The challenge of television for me is it is really fast so what I am challenged to do when working in television is prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare…because when one shows up on set, you have to pretty much be ready to work because the speed is, if you’re not ready, you’re going to have a problem.”


  • On why he hesitated to take the role in The Cider House Rules: “Mr. Rose impregnates his daughter…I was deeply uncomfortable with that whole narrative and what caused me to be able to do the work and play that part is because I found what I hoped would be the humanity in Mr. Rose…What I decided for myself was that I had a deep, deep, deep and genuine love for my daughter and that was real and that comes out in a scene between me and Tobey Maguire when I say to him, “I love her!”

During Lindo’s conversation with Thompson, numerous clips were shown from his acting career, including Malcom X, Crookland, Clockers, Get Shorty, Soul of the Game, Feeling Minnesota, Ransom, The Cider House Rules, Romeo Must Die and Da 5 Bloods.


Following the conversation, Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard presented him with the American Rivera Award. Blanchard opened his remarks by saying: “The thing about Delroy is that he leaves an impression. The way he can effortlessly inhabit the characters, the authority in which he delivers his lines, the impact he leaves on a project, whether you remember the story or not, you definitely remember Delroy…He stands out in these vast ensembles…It is my great honor to present my brother, Delroy Lindo, with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Rivera Award to Delroy. Congratulations!”

Upon accepting his award, Lindo said: “Thank you so much Terence…To the extent that I inspire you, I’m saying right back at you bro, you inspire me…I can’t imagine being more honored to get the award from you…Thank you to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival…I appreciate the recognition. That recognition comes all down to Spike Lee and him bringing us all together to work on this particular film. On a lot of levels, my appreciation for Spike stems from that time [1992]…I have a deep, deep, deep appreciation for Spike specifically for this film but also for all of the work that we’ve done. Spike, if you’re watching I want to say that I have an enhanced appreciation for your particular genius…I want to say thank you to my brothers, the cast and crew of Da 5 Bloods in terms of the community they created and the safe space that we all created together to make this work possible…A particular thank you to my brothers in arms…My cousins Ronnie and Ted, they were Vietnam veterans…and to all the black and brown vets who’s stories never get told on film…Thank you to my son…my son inspires me in ways that you never know…Thank you to my wife, Neshormeh, I love you…Thank you all, god bless. I really really appreciate it.”

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Previous recipients include Renée Zellweger, Viggo Mortenson, Sam Rockwell, Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane.


The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

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